2. Delicious food: I think I’ve already blogged about this. Our last night eating a simple Turkish meal of lentil soup, eggplant and yogurt dips, and baklava surprised us. It was as satisfying as our first meal in Turkey.
3. Clean: In Kaş the garbage was picked up every day. The sidewalks were washed down every day. There was no trash littering the streets. It was just plain clean. In Istanbul the garbage was picked up three times a day. It was just never stinky (except on the bus).
4. Safe: Our kids stayed out after midnight by themselves roaming the streets of Kaş. We didn’t worry. An American ex-pat told us a story of visiting a family in Ankara. Everyone was gathered around the TV to listen to the news of a crime. She thought it must be something horrible, something violent. It was news of a pick-pocket.
5. History: More people have come to invade and conquer Turkey than probably any other region in the world. It’s strategically important as the passage between Asia and Europe and Africa and Asia. The Hittites, the Trojans, the Greeks including Alexander the Great, the Romans, the Persians, the Lycians, Christian Byzantines, and Muslim Ottomans have all maintained empires in Turkey.
6. Beautiful people: With the rich history of all those different invaders and conquerers the people have enriched their genes. The most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen are in Turkey. There’s a color I hadn’t seen before, somewhere between green, grey, and brown. I found myself staring at people frequently trying to meet their eyes.
7. Friendly people: We were never lost without someone coming to our aid. Sometimes the help was in German, but that worked for us.
8. Adventure: We sailed the blue Mediterranean for four nights. The kids parasailed. Bill and Hank learned to scuba dive. We explored ancient Greek and Roman ruins. We ballooned over Cappadocia at sunrise.
9. The bus system: Easy, efficient and cheap. It got us around the country. We did have to take a couple of overnight trips and got dropped off at our stop at 4am once. They provided an adventure in culture.
Granted we were tired of the rug sellers pushing their wares and the restauranteur asking if we wanted to see their menu identical to the menu at the restaurant next door. We even got tired of the food after five weeks. Hank and I spent an evening laughing about all the things we could no longer bear toward the end of our visit. But I’d go back. Maybe even stay longer next time.